Papers and "Paletas"

6 Nov

She sells newspapers at a busy intersection that we pass by as we drive the girls to school. At first we didn’t really notice her in the distraction of the morning rush. Then we would refer to her as the older woman who sells the papers. Then there was the tentative, but mutual recognition that comes from seeing a familiar face every day over a period of time.

As the weeks went by our passing acquaintance led us to smile, then to wave and finally I began to lower my window and greet the newspaper woman every day. She tells me that I bring her blessings each day for her sales. One day I noticed she had company at her appointed spot and she told me she had recruited her daughter to help sell papers too. She introduced me to her and also told me the day she celebrated her one year anniversary of selling newspapers.

Since I don’t buy the paper, some days as I drove away from our morning greetings, I would ask God if there was anything I could do for this sweet woman who always has a smile and a kind word despite the early hour or the harsh weather. God put in on my heart to invite them to a workshop I organized at our family crisis center (CAME) for needy women to learn a craft that they can sell to generate income. Maria Luisa López, a friend from Agua Viva days, designs and produces edible marshmallow figures on a stick (paletas) to sell as a way to generate additional income for her family. She shares my passion to see opportunities for women who are un- or under employed to have opportunities and tools to begin their own businesses and support their families.

Yesterday we had six women in our first workshop and among them were the “newspaper women”, where we learned their names are Salomé and her daughter, Yeimy. They along with the other four made their two marshmallow creations and left the Center with a new skill and a new and exciting vision.

This morning when we drove by their spot, we greeted our friends (and future businesswomen), and Salomé gave us some great news: “I sold my first paleta!”

Thank you for supporting us with your gifts and your prayers so that we can support others. It is an incredible privilege to love and serve God and our neighbors in this city.


One Response to “Papers and "Paletas"”

  1. Andrew & Jessica November 11, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Hola Karen! Thanks for sharing this little story. A great reminder that we need to slow down and get to know and care for some of the people we pass by each day. I also share your interest/concern/passion for empowering people through small business opportunities. There is a great biography on David Bussau, a *fellowship friend* who was part of pioneering micro economic development loans, of which 80-90% go to women in the developing world. The book is called:Don't Look Back: The David Bussau Story: How an Abandoned Child Became a Champion of the Poor -Scott W has my copy…

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